“Always judge your neighbors fairly, neither favoring the poor nor showing deference to the rich.” - Leviticus 19:15
Few of us would admit to being prejudiced. A dictionary defines prejudice as suspicion, intolerance, or hatred of other races or creeds. This type of unfair judging goes against God’s law in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:15). It is also forbidden to the followers of Jesus (Matthew 7:1-2).
Consider the New Testament story of a man called Cornelius, who was a high-ranking Roman officer. Cornelius was “a devout man who feared the God of Israel” (Acts 10:2). Honoring Cornelius’s religious sincerity, God sent Peter to show him the way of salvation. But first God needed to deal with Peter’s prejudice. You see, Peter, like all Jews in his time, would refuse to fellowship in the home or at table with a Gentile (that is, a non-Jew). So God used a Gentile soldier—the very type of person that Peter was prejudiced against—to teach Peter some important lessons! First, God calls no human being common or unclean and offers salvation to all (Acts 10:15, 34-35). Second, if God isn’t prejudiced, we certainly must not be. Peter was a man of principle, but his religious traditions were in danger of overshadowing the truth that is in Jesus.
Do you have “people prejudices”—even subtle ones? Prejudice can be a big barrier to our willingness to share the gospel with people who need it. Many, like Cornelius, have not rejected Jesus; they just haven’t had an opportunity to receive him. Beware of prejudice!
For Further Study: Leviticus 19:1-19
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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